Fringe Candy: Poppin’ the Big Cherry

You never forget your first time…
I like to think from time to time that there has to be a good chocolate & cherry candy out there somewhere. The two flavors work really well together in theory. I get a cherry mocha at the Wayward once and a while, and the Cherry Garcia Ice Cream from Ben & Jerry’s is pretty damn good. But Cherry Cordials are, in a word, disgusting. In two words, fucking disgusting.

I can still remember my first experience with a Cordial. I thought it had gone bad, somehow. It was, I recall, the first time I had ever spit out a piece of chocolate. It was the goo more than anything else. From the outside, it looks like you’re in for a pleasant truffle-like experience. Then the teeth crack that chocolate shell, and sweet, viscous goo spills into your mouth.

There are literally dozens of metaphors for what that experience is like, each more disgusting than the other. So I’ll spare you. But imagine if the alien eggs of those famous famous face-huggers were cherry flavored, and you’re halfway there.

The Big Cherry candy has a lot going for it on the surface. Chocolate, cherry, and crushed peanuts, all of which sound good, right? And it’s made by Christopher’s Candy Company which, as far as I can tell, has virtually no online presence and makes no other candy. How can a small candy company survive in this modern world by putting out anything but an amazing candy bar?

Well, the answer to that question is complicated.

For one, Christopher’s Candy Company and their Big Cherry bar (and bar is used loosely here), is now owned by Adams & Brooks, a candy company formed in 1932. Adams & Brooks prides themselves on having a diverse, some might even say “odd” list of products. In addition to the Big Cherry, they also make Cup-O-Gold, and those twirly Unicorn Pops.

For two, there’s no accounting for taste. Some people clearly love the candy enough to follow it on Facebook and sing it’s praises on their page.

I decided to take a chance, and picked up three of them when I was at the local drug store to pick up some shipping supplies. I figured I’d have one to eat, a back-up for photography and maybe a treat for another day, and there was a third for a friend of mine who loves Cordials. What did I say about no accounting for taste? I figured even if I didn’t care for it, she would.

With the first bite, I found the chocolate kind of crumbly, but not bad. I attributed it to the peanut bits. But still no cherry. Not yet. This candy wasn’t giving up the goods so easily. No, the whole cherry the candy is named for is in the center, and as the picture leads me to believe, not in a pool of goo. So that was promising.

I kept going until I hit cherry.

It didn’t take long.

It wasn’t very rewarding.

See, there’s no goo. But there is a kind of cherry nougat. It tastes like science and sugar. And not in a good way. I was dangerously close to spitting out a chocolate for the second time in my life.

But I take this shit seriously, people! The sanctity of the Fringe Candy posts demand it. I kept going. I finished the whole thing. I did experience the cherry heart of the beast, but it was almost drowned out by the concentrated sweetness of the rest of the bar. I swear by all that’s holy, they must have used some kind of Russian space-program super-sugar in that or something. My teeth were humming by the end.

It was about this time my other guinea pig pinged me online. She thanked me for the candy, then mentioned that she was just about to bite in.

I regret to say that I hesitated. A better friend would have stopped her.

But I figured she liked Cherry Cordials, so maybe she’d see something of value that I didn’t. After saying she was biting in, she was quiet for some time. Too long, I thought. I could have saved her. I felt a queasy sensation in my stomach. I couldn’t tell if it was guilt or the Big Cherry.

“Did you finish yours?” she asked me a few minutes later.

“Yes.” She was alive, but the queasiness was going nowhere. “I don’t think I should have, but I did.”

“I only ate half of mine,” she admitted. “Did you like it?”

“No. Do you have any insulin over there?”

Do I think you, the average Fringe Candy reader would like a Big Cherry bar? Probably not. The chocolate isn’t bad, but the peanuts make it crumbly in a way that chocolate really shouldn’t be. And the sugary center will take your ten speed bike and beat your lunch money out of you with it. Proceed with caution.

But if you find one at a drug store or back-water gas station, give it a shot. I can pretty much promise you’ve never had anything else like it before.

4 thoughts on “Fringe Candy: Poppin’ the Big Cherry

  1. I confess that I am a huge fan of cherry cordials. Perhaps it was that we were not able to afford them as children and so when we had them, they were amazing treats of rare occasion. Now, I am anxious to try this candy you describe. I wonder how and where they market. I know of many narrow market brands that seem as though they’d never do well that end up being amazingly successful in other countries or just being targeted towards immigrant communities in America where the culture and palate do not fit the expected mainline American tongue. Sometimes success isn’t just about volume. If you know you’ve got a hit with south Asian peoples and make only enough to sell through your entire production run every month at their grocers, I’d say you’ve got a good thing going.

    1. I have one of these left…no one else in the office will touch it. 😉
      I’ll bring it for you on Sunday. You might actually like it. Someone has to, or they wouldn’t have been making these since the 50’s.

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